Two thousand people visited The Brown Cow, 7347 Madison St., on Sunday, July 18 and owner Connie Brown estimates her community minded creamery doled out 1,000 scoops of free ice cream. A creative partnership with GoFundMe empowered the small yet mighty ice cream shop to serve up scoops of gratitude in Forest Park.
During the pandemic, Brown’s ice cream manufacturer suddenly closed its doors and she had no way to make The Brown Cow’s signature ice cream. Her son created a GoFundMe to help build an in-house creamery. The response was overwhelming — in under 24 hours the campaign was nearly 80% funded and has raised more than $62,000 to date. The campaign saved the shop that has called Madison Street home since 2004.
The online fundraising platform reached out to Brown and four other ice cream shops across the nation who had benefitted from successful GoFundMe campaigns. GoFundMe noted “thousands of acts of kindness on GoFundMe made a difference for these beloved ice cream shops” and wanted to “sprinkle back” that kindness on National Ice Cream Day. GoFundMe partnered with the shops to help them provide a free scoop of a new ice cream flavor, Sprinkle Kindness, to anyone stopping by.
Brown developed a custom-crafted ice cream for the free scoops event. The Brown Cow’s version of Sprinkle Kindness is a super-premium sweet cream ice cream with butter cream frosting, Aunt Laura’s sugar cookies and colorful sprinkles. She put the new in-house creamery to grand use and whipped up 100 gallons of her frosted sugar cookie ice cream in advance of National Ice Cream Day.
“I think GoFundMe was impressed by the immediacy of community support our campaign received,” said Brown. “They foot the bill to make the special flavor and provided everything we needed for the event including cups, napkins and signage.” GoFundMe contracted with local printers to produce the signs for the event.
Brown had already arranged for Aubrey Jacknow, owner of 99 Haus Balloons, to install a balloon display outside the shop on National Ice Cream Day, but a representative from GoFundMe reached out to Jacknow to increase the budget and scope of the project. The elaborate, pastel-hued, two-story balloon installation on the building façade greeted an impressive number of customers who lined up for a free scoop of ice cream.
“If we had not had the GoFundMe I am almost 100% certain we would not be here today,” said an emotional Brown. “To be able to say thank you without words, to be able to give away free ice cream to anyone who walked through the door and celebrate with the whole community — it was just an awesome party.”
The Brown Cow is donating 100% of proceeds from sales of their Sprinkle Kindness ice cream to the 209 Scholarship fund throughout the month of July. 209 Scholarship is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit which provides scholarships to District 209 students. GoFundMe will match up to $25,000 in donations. Direct donations and online ice cream purchases can be made at www.browncowicecream.com.
How sweet is that?